Ford is catching up to its competitors in key Asian markets and expects to sell over 1 million vehicles for the first time in Asia this year.

Key to that growth is China , where Ford’s sales were up 51 percent in the first nine months of this year to 647,849 vehicles, said David Schoch, Ford’s group vice president for the Asia Pacific region.

The second largest US automaker expects to double its market share in China to nearly 5 percent by the year end from 2.5 percent in 2012, Schoch said.

Ford is currently building manufacturing hubs in China , India and Thailand and recently relocated its regional headquarters to Shanghai .

While those plants will boost Ford’s regional capacity of 1.9 million units, which vastly exceeds current sales, the automaker is also moving ahead with the construction of six new regional assembly plants, including four in China . That aims to increase production capacity to 2.9 million vehicles by 2015.

The automaker expects that region and China in particular will play an increasingly important role in the global auto industry.

Annual vehicle sales are expected to hit 32 million in China by the end of the decade, more than in the US and Europe combined.

Meanwhile, sales in the Asia Pacific region are expected to make up 46 percent of global sales in 2020, up from 41 percent in 2013.

Ford also forecasts that global auto sales will rise to 109 million in 2020 from 82 million in 2013.

In addition to China, Ford’s Asia Pacific region includes India , Vietnam , Indonesia , Thailand , Myanmar and the Philippines.-VNA